Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Arbutus arizonica


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Pavek, Diane S. 1993. Arbutus arizonica. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ARBARI SYNONYMS : Arbutus xalapensis var. arizonica Gray SCS PLANT CODE : ARAR2 COMMON NAMES : Arizona madrone Arizona madrono TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of Arizona madrone is Arbutus arizonica (Gray) Sarg. [11,25]. It is a member of the heather family (Ericaceae). There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Tree, Shrub FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Arizona madrone has a limited distribution. It is found in the foothills and lower mountains of southern Arizona and New Mexico, and northern Mexico [11,22,25]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper STATES : AZ NM MEXICO BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 7 Lower Basin and Range 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K019 Arizona pine forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K031 Oak - juniper woodlands SAF COVER TYPES : 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper 240 Arizona cypress 241 Western live oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Arizona madrone is widespread in mesic areas of the Madrean (i.e., Sierra Madre) evergreen woodlands, extending up into the mixed coniferous forest [1,4,13]. Additionally, it is a minor component of two riparian community types: (1) Arizona sycamore/American ash (Platanus wrightii/Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and (2) Arizona sycamore [24]. Arizona madrone is an important species within the oak-pine woodland, especially the pygmy conifer-oak scrub (Pinus cembroides-Juniperus deppeana-Quercus arizonica, Q. emoryi) [5,17,30]. It is also found in drier adjacent communities with buckbrush (Ceanothus huichugore) [4,18]. It is listed as a minor seral species in the following classification: Forest and woodland habitat types (plant associations) of Arizona south of the Mogollon Rim and southwestern New Mexico [33].


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Arizona madrone has light-colored sapwood that is close grained, heavy, soft, and brittle. The wood has a specific gravity of approximately 0.71. Arizona madrone has been used to manufacture charcoal and gunpowder [22,28]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Arizona madrone is rarely browsed except by goats [22]. Its fruits are eaten by mammals and birds and may be an important food source for some species, such as the elegant trogan [32]. Arizona madrone may provide nest sites for cavity-nesting or other birds. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : The fruit of Arizona madrone has narcotic properties, and the bark is used as an astringent [21]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Arizona madrone is a native, broadleaf, evergreen tree or shrub [11]. Stout, spreading branches form a compact, round-topped crown [21]. It grows 19 to 50 feet (6-15 m) tall with a diameter of 18 to 24 inches (46-61 cm) [11,21,22,28]. The bark is smooth, thin, and peels off in sheets [7,11,21]. Thick, oblong leaves are leathery, and 2 to 3 inches (5-7.2 cm) long. The fruit is a mealy, sweet berry. The berry contains many seeds [25,27,28]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Arizona madrone reproduces sexually by seed. Fleshy, bright-colored fruits may be animal disseminated, as are the fruits of another madrone species (Arbutus unedo) [10,16]. Madrone species, including Arizona madrone, sprout from the root crown after top-kill by burning or other disturbance [10,14,15,34]. Arizona madrone grows slowly [27]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Arizona madrone is found in mesic canyons, on lower slopes, and mountain sides [1]. It occurs on well-drained, gravelly, and sunny sites [7,28]. Arizona madrone is confined to moist riparian areas at low elevations (1,600 to 2,200 feet [487-671 m]) but occurs more commonly at elevations from 4,000 to 8,000 feet (1,219-2,438 m) [6,11,28,30]. It occurs on a variety of soils formed from resideual or colluvial parent materials [33]. Arizona madrone is often on open, north-facing or intermediate east- and west-facing slopes. In the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, its highest frequency (23 percent) was on north-facing slopes [30]. The climate is semiarid to arid with bimodal rainy seasons (July to September and December to March) [1,5,30]. Rainfall is variable with mean annual precipitation from 11 to 20 inches (280-500 mm). Common associated species are New Mexico locust (Robina neomexicana), silverleaf oak (Quercus hypoleucoides), netleaf oak (Q. rugosa), Apache pine (Pinus engelmannii), and Chihuahua pine (Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana) [5,6,24,29,32]. Other associated species are longtongue muhly (Muhlenbergia longiligula) and New Mexico groundsel(Senecio neomexicanus) [33]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Little information was found in the literature about the successional status of Arizona madrone. It reportedly occurs as a mid- to late seral species [32]. Based upon the performance of other members of this genus, Arizona madrone is most likely a facultative seral species. Another madrone species (Arbutus unedo) that holds a similar ecological role in Corsican woodlands is a mid-successional species [16]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : New leaves of Arizona madrone are put out in May and again after the summer rains; these leaves persist about 1 year [21]. Arizona madrone flowers from April to May or June [3,11,28]. Fruits ripen October through November [21,28].


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Arizona madrone has thin bark, which makes it susceptible to fire damage. It sprouts from the root crown after top-kill [34]. Published information on the fire ecology of Arizona madrone is sparse. Further research is needed in this area [1]. Fire is infrequent and has a minor role in the riparian communities in which Arizona madrone is a component; however, fire occurs frequently in the pine-oak woodland types in which it also occurs [17]. Arizona madrone in the Chiricahua and Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona has survived fire. In a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)/oak community, an Arizona madrone had eight fire scars, indicating frequent fires [31]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex off-site colonizer; seed carried by animals or water; postfire yr 1&2 Secondary colonizer - off-site seed


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Arizona madrone has thin bark and is top-killed by fire [34]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Arizona madrone sprouts from the root corwn after top-kill by fire [34]. Madrean evergreen woodlands in Arizona were prescribed burned in 1983. In 1989 and 1990, no sprouting or germination of Arizona madrone was found. The small, slow-moving fires may have caused root damage to Arizona madrone, which suppressed sprouting or killed the plants [32]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Arizona madrone occurs in canyons that are often involved in prescribed fire programs within the Madrean evergreen woodlands [1].


SPECIES: Arbutus arizonica
REFERENCES : 1. Bennett, Peter S.; Kunzmann, Michael R. 1992. The applicability of generalized fire prescriptions to burning of Madrean evergreen forest and woodland. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science. 24-25: 79-84. [18324] 2. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 3. Britton, N. L.; Shafer, J. A. 1908. North American trees. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 894 p. [20918] 4. Brown, David E., ed. 1982. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 342 p. Special Issue. [534] 5. Brown, David E. 1982. Madrean evergreen woodland. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 59-65. [8886] 6. 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Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University, Forest Research Laboratory: 21-29. [4979] 15. Mesleard, Francois; Lepart, Jacques. 1989. Continuous basal sprouting from a lignotuber: Arbutus unedo L. and Erica arborea L., as woody Mediterranean examples. Oecologia. 80: 127-131. [20921] 16. Mesleard, F.; Lepart, J. 1991. Germination and seedling dynamics of Arbutus unedo and Erica arborea on Corsica. Journal of Vegetation Science. 2: 155-164. [20923] 17. Niering, William A.; Lowe, Charles H. 1984. Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains: community types and dynamics. Vegetatio. 58: 3-28. [12037] 18. Pase, Charles P.; Brown, David E. 1982. Rocky Mountain (Petran) and Madrean montane conifer forests. In: Brown, David E., ed. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants. 4(1-4): 43-48. [8885] 19. Raphael, Martin G. 1987. Use of Pacific madrone by cavity-nesting birds. In: Plumb, Timothy R.; Pillsbury, Norman H., technical coordinators. Proceedings of the symposium on multiple-use management of California's hardwood resources; 1986 November 12-14; San Luis Obispo, CA. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-100. Berkeley, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station: 198-202. [5375] 20. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 21. Sargent, C. S. 1965. Manual of the trees of North America. New York: Dover Publications,nInc. 2 vols. [20917] 22. Standley, P. C. 1924. Trees and shrubs of Mexico. Contrib. U.S. Nat. Herb. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press; 23: 849-1312. [20916] 23. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 24. Szaro, Robert C.; King, Rudy M. 1990. Sampling intensity and species richness: effects on delineating Southwestern riparian plant communities. Forest Ecology and Management. 33/34: 335-349. [13783] 25. Tidestrom, I.; Kittell, T. 1941. A flora of Arizona and New Mexico. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press. 897 p. [18145] 26. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 27. Soil Conservation Service of America, Arizona Chapter. Natural Vegetation Committee. 1973. Landscaping with native Arizona plants. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. 194 p. [20919] 28. Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p. [7707] 29. Wagle, R. F. 1981. Fire: its effects on plant succession and wildlife in the Southwest. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 82 p. [4031] 30. Whittaker, R. H.; Niering, W. A. 1965. Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona: a gradient analysis of the south slope. Ecology. 46: 429-452. [9637] 31. Mutch, L. (pers. comm. 1993) 32. Bennett, P. (pers. comm. 1993) 33. Twisselmann, E. C. 1967. A flora of Kern County, California. Wasmann Journal of Biology. 25: 1-395. [20388] 34. Barton, Drew. 2002. [Email to Janet Howard re: Arizona madrone]. July 23. Farmington, ME: University of Maine at Farmington, Department of Natural Sciences. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. [41435]